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Food Goz with Bojoon.com
Whip the cooks

Sri Lankans have begun to discover that they have been denied of the country’s traditional mouthwatering dishes made of a variety of titillating vegetables and fruits

By Sandamalee de Fonseka
Our last week’s goz on Piawoos’s cheese kottu promoted one of The Nation’s readers to ask from bojoon.com of other unusual food. Today, with the craze of fusing one culinary dish with the other, there is a variety of unusual food to be found and enjoyed in Sri Lanka. For instance, Hotel Earl’s Regency, Kandy once created a very Sri Lankan style sushi to bojoon.com with kos and katta sambol wrapped in spinach (log on to www.bojoon.com for recipe). Very nice!

However, not all unusual dishes necessarily belong to fusion cuisine. Some adventurous chefs mix and match cheese and chalk type of ingredients and come up with interesting dishes like the Habarana Chaaya Village’s coffee chicken roulade. Then there are food items that are found exclusively in one region like the khelm kola found only in Yala, which more than its thick jungle flavor is renowned for its ability to reduce blood sugar levels. As the Yala Village’s chef showed bojoon.com this leaf can be made into a sambol or into a white curry (log on to www.bojoon.com for both recipes).

Then, there are food items that are not a chef’s novel creation, but done right that it becomes almost exclusive to that establishment – like the chocolate and liqueur dipped strawberries found in Fine Things, Colombo Hilton. While chocolate-dipped strawberries are found in almost every 5-star hotel, none has gone into detail about what’s Colombo Hilton has.
Some food become exclusive when one culinary establishment preserves tradition and keeps it alive and over time that food is found only in that establishment like the alpé found only at Delight Bakers & Sweet House (Pvt.) Ltd – the sweet shop right in front of Cargills Food City, Kandy. For the many non-Kandy readers who do not know what an alpé is, this is a twisty caramel stick. The caramel is in different degrees and thus the outer layer is hard as rock with the inside layers getting flakier and as the saying goes, melts in the mouth.

We speak of alpé with caution as this is highly addictive and habit forming. I have not come across a single person who has been immune to alpé. The grumpiest faces twist into wide smiles as they beg for more!

There is a reason why Sri Lanka is considered a paradise, and that is its almost boundless variety of vegetables, fruits, pulses and roots. Sadly, most of us who live in the busy cities know only a handful of these wonderful foods. This makes these ‘unknown’ food unusual when discovered, like the menneri, which we once enjoyed while in Kataragama and now one of our regular breakfast components. We can’t understand why this delicious, nutritious dish, which is the softer, creamier version of oats, is not featured in any of our breakfast buffets.

Then in our long history, there are dishes that have gained significance because of an occasion it graced. The example that readily comes to mind is not one dish, but 32 dishes served as alms to the Sacred Tooth in the Temple of Tooth Kandy.
Equally interesting, though not as well known is the story of Dutugamunu and his queen to be, Ranmanika. This is one of the most romantic stories in history. As we all know, Prince Gamini was born when part of Sri Lanka was occupied by a Dravidian force. He grew up wanting to liberate the people from the occupiers, which his father vehemently opposed. Finally, the Prince sent ladies garments to his father (which earned him his opprobrious title, dutta) and escaped to the hills to gather his forces.

What is not that well known is his life in the hills and it is one of the most beautiful stories ever. Concocting the sad story of a step-dad chasing him from home he walked into a village, where a young girl, Ranmanika fell in love with him. The Prince however liked her older sister, Kalumanika, who was a considerable beauty. Being the daughter of the village headman, haughty Kalumanika however refused the Prince’s attention thinking the worst of him. Over the years, gentle Ranmanika grew into a beautiful woman and her rhubarb leaves in pickled curry – a fantastic rice-puller (log on to www.bojoon.com for recipe) – along with her grace finally shifted the Prince’s attention from the Kalumanika to Ranmanika.

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Kottu Unlimited at Hilton Colombo

A sumptuous and spicy feast as Hilton Colombo brings to you 2100 kgs of Kottu

Kottu is indisputably, Sri Lanka’s favourite comfort food but, this distinction may not last much longer. The Hilton Colombo now attempts to take a nation’s yearning for this delicious dish to even greater proportions, by showcasing this much loved specialty to the world, as part of its “2,100 kg of Kottu” fundraiser. Join friends and families, and bear witness to what may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in a potential world’s first, when 40 chefs from the Hilton Colombo’s Curry Leaf Restaurant will prepare 2,100 kgs of Chicken Kottu between 5.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. on Sunday, October 21, 2007, at the Hilton Colombo Sports Centre Car Park.

Open to all, “2,100 kgs of Kottu” is a first of its kind fundraising event, where guests will witness this spectacular blending of spices, roti and lots of chicken supplied by Maxies & Company Private Ltd

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Tantalisingly Thai at Mount Lavinia Hotel

If you are a connoisseur of Thai cuisine, do not miss this opportunity to indulge in the ultimate of authentic Thai food, prepared by Chef Voravit and Chef Chaveewan flown in especially for the occasion from Novotel Bangkok, at the Hut, Mount Lavinia Hotel from October 21-27 from 7:30 p.m. onwards. Rs. 1800/- per person.

Did you know Thai food is beneficial to your health? Thai chefs use less fat, small amounts of meat and a variety of vegetables, and the freshest of ingredients. Thai cuisine provides the right nutrients to help with digestion and the gastro intestinal system.

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Summer Fest at Summerfields

A ‘Summer Fest’ at Summerfields – and what might that be, one may ask? For the health conscious, this is a must have experience because plenty of salads have been created for your indulgence. From the south-eastern region of Victoria, Australia, a variety of salad mixes and single line lettuce with their own individual flavours are combined with Chermoula Chicken, five spice Duck, Grilled Pesto Vegetables such as capsicums, egg plant, zucchini, baby beets, roasted plum tomatoes, char grilled baby octopus and juniper Berry and Vodka infused Salmon Gravalax – a huge selection of mouthwatering salads as you can see.

A choice of condiments and dressings are a further add on, while the ‘Spring’ Lamb from South Gippsland in Victoria, Australian Angus Beef from Wagga in Northern New South Wales, prime Steer Beef from the rich pastures of Central Victoria are some of the mains in the carefully prepared menu. Fresh Atlantic Salmon from the pristine waters of Tasmania and wild Barramundi from North Queensland, Coffin Bay Scallops from the southern waters of Australia are also on the cards. Last but not least is the selection of Cheese from the Yarra Valley, also in Victoria.

For Desserts – a promise has been made to provide a sinful selection and nothing less! Wijay – the Executive Pastry Chef proudly says his team will have on parade their best, which means those with a sweet tooth, are in for a pleasant surprise!
Australian born Chef German (where the letter G reads as an H) Dimaano will join the Trans Asia’s kitchen brigade to bring on this unusual feast of salads and mains from October 22 to 31, during dinner only at Summerfields, Trans Asia Hotel.

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